Best Paint for Rusty metal

Best Paint to Cover Rust

Paint is effective in protecting and beautifying a surface. It’s even coat adds color and texture by transforming an unattractive, dull looking surface into a bright, elegant and colorful one within a short time.

However, not all paints are formulated to cover rust, so there is a possibility of you getting paint with poor adherence, hence leaving you with more problems.

For this reason, the need arises for you to note that specific characteristics make a particular product the best paint to cover rust.

Assembled in this article is a list of the best paints available.

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Best Paint to Cover Rust

Can you Paint 0ver Rust?

Are you staring at your rusty metal surfaces with no heads up on how to revive them? Well, stare no further. Yes, it is possible to give your rusty surfaces a complete turnaround look without breaking the bank.

With the right primer, paint, and surface preparation you can paint over that rusty old fashioned metal gate or tool, no matter the depth of the rust if you follow the right procedures.

The first action to take is to use a wire brush to clean off flakes of paint-loosed rust or any debris from the metal surface that will prevent the paint from bonding and then apply a rust converter or inhibitive primer.

Howbeit, if the rust has fully or partially eaten through the metal, ensure to use an auto body filler to fill in the holes before painting.

It’s that simple to paint over rust without exhausting all your strength, trying to remove it manually, but the depth of the rust will determine how much surface prep work will be needed.

Why Use a Paint to Cover Rust?

Best Paint to Cover Rust

Here are some reasons why you should use paint to cover rust:

It Reduces Cost

Painting over rusted metal pieces is more economical, and it saves money rather than renewing them.

Painting rusted metal items compared to replacing them is a win situation for you. Do the research and find out the cost of a spray can conversion rust primer, a spray can of metal rust paint, and then multiply the required ounce of spray with the square feet of the cover area to be painted.

This should give you a rough estimate of the cost. Thus, using paint to cover rusts boosts your savings and saves time.

Painting gives you a Range of Colors and Looks to Pick From

Paint comes in a broad spectrum of colors and sheen finishing. The primed metal can be painted with any color of choice in glossy or matte sheens.

Ensure to apply one or more coats of your choice of paint color and sheen, allowing each coat to dry in between applications, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It Provides Further Protection from Rust

Many paints such as rust inhibitory paint feature some elements that are counter reactive to the sun, fading and scorching, rust-inhibiting, and even fire resistance.

These elements protect the painted surface from exposure to the causative agents of rust.

Best Paint for Covering Rust

1. Krylon K05160202 ColorMaster Paint

The ColorMaster Paint K05160202 from Krylon is a versatile spray paint best fitted for use on metals.

Its long-lasting, fade, and moisture resistant feature makes it the perfect choice for outdoor painting, and its ability to dry fast within a short time makes it an ideal choice for indoor painting.

This paint is available in a range of finishing, including the matte anti-shine finish option and smooth, even coats that won’t chip or flake off.

  • Durable coat.
  • Fast-drying feature.
  • Doubles as a paint and a primer.
  • It requires multi coats.

2. Rust-Oleum Metal Spray Paint

The Rust-Oleum Spray Paint is an oil-based paint formulated with rust-resistant elements that make it the perfect choice for protecting and refurbishing metal pieces.

This metal spray paint is characterized by a feature that protects the already painted metal from weathering and corrosion.

The Rust-Oleum spray paint for metals has a fast drying time, and a can is usually enough to paint an area of about 15 square feet hence, making it an excellent option for painting large square regions.

  • Fast drying.
  • Extensive coverage.
  • Rust resistant.
  • For interior and exterior painting.
  • It’s very durable.
  • The price is somewhat on the high side.

3. Krylon K02203 Metallic Spray Paint

This is a Multi-Purpose spray paint that is suitable for a range of applications. It provides smooth and nice-looking coats of paint to the metal.

It’s not worth the trouble of using this paint for an outdoor item because the new layers you will spray on are just going to come off in a matter of months.

This is a type of spray paint that is highly compatible with metal items, but in terms of durability and shine, there are better options available.

  • Fast dry time (10-15 minutes).
  • It’s incredibly reliable.
  • Wide range of colors.
  • Couldn’t find any.

4. PlastiKote Premium Enamel Spray Paint for Metal

The PlastiKote T-23-6PK is a type of paint that provides an aluminum-look even on non-aluminum materials. This spray paint features a fast-drying effect within 20 minutes of application.

It’s also formulated with UV resistant elements that make it suitable for both exterior and interior use. Alternatively, its water-resistant feature makes it fit for use in any location, including humid and rainy areas.

These features make it adhere longer to both indoor and outdoor surfaces

  • Scratch, water, UV light-resistant.
  • Durable finish.
  • Wide range of colors.
  • Flat finish.

5. Design Master DM241 Metallic Spray Paint

This paint offers you a bright, colorful rose gold color after application. Once this paint dries up, you will see a pop of rose gold color. The finishing comes with an extra shiny sheen that emphasizes the color.

  • The finish is high quality and colorful.
  • Fast dry time.
  • Not suitable if you are painting an item to be used outdoors.

What to Consider When Buying Rust Neutralizing Paint

Best Paint for Rusty metal

There are certain qualities and factors to consider before buying a rust neutralizing paint. Some of them are listed below.

One outstanding quality to look out for in a metal rust paint is its ability to withstand high temperatures. Metal is known to be a good conductor of heat, so the paint you plan to buy should have such a feature.

If they do not withstand heat, then you risk it chipping off the metal surface after a while.

The thick consistency of the paint is another factor to consider before buying paint. An ideal paint with excellent quality is not supposed to take more than a few layers to coat metal properly. When the appearance of the paint is too thin, then the value should be reconsidered.

Always look out for paints with a sharp and metallic finishing. Not all metallic finishes are of the same quality, so it is essential to check for those that feature a better glaze. A durable finish is also befitting for metal, especially if the metal item is old fashioned with scratches.

Lastly, how long does Spray Paint take to dry? This is an excellent question to consider, and painting should be a fun project and not a day-long tedious one. The length of time a paint takes to dry is essential.

Although the dry time for metal paint may vary between different types of paint, the general rule says it is a good idea to leave any spray-painted metal item for 24 hours before you attempt to use it, as metal spray paint can take a long time to be fully dry enough for safe use.

Read Also: Best Glass Spray Paint

How to Paint Over Rust

When preparing for a DIY painting project, ensure you have available all the crucial tools you’ll need during the project. These tools may differ depending on the depth of the rust.

Materials Required

  • Scraper
  • Wire brush: A wire brush effectively removes rusts in a short time.
  • Dropcloth or recycled newspaper: Using a drop cloth protects other surfaces from stains from falling paint flakes or debris during the rust removal or painting process.
  • Spray paint and Rust-inhibitive primer: Spray paint and primer designed for covering rust forms a befitting barrier to the causative elements of corrosion or rust. Rust paint
  • Sandpaper: Sandpaper pieces are convenient for several DIY household projects. Make use of a beautiful piece of medium-grit sandpaper to roughen out rust. Cleaner/Degreaser

Now that you know the materials and tools you will need. Follow these steps to ensure a successful painting project. Painting over rust is quite easy and can be carried out by a pro or a newbie.

Just like every DIY project, there are essential steps to follow to ensure you get the best results.

Proper surface preparation

Always apply paint in a well-ventilated area and protect nearby items from paint drips or overspray using a drop cloth. Check appropriately to the extent the rust has eaten into the structure of the metal.

If the rust is only flaking off on the surface-level, then the paint will adhere better. If the rust has eaten deep into the metal, ensure to use an auto body filler to fill in the holes.

The first step to take is to use a scraper, a wire brush, and some degreaser/cleaner. Gently clean off oil, grease, and other surface debris that may prevent surface adhesion by cleaning with commercial degreaser or your homemade soap solution (detergents and water).

Next, scrape out loosed rust and flaked out the paint with a wire brush and sanding.

If you fail to clean the surface properly, then you risk your new paint project having an uneven surface coat and risk peeling.

Proper surface cleaning will give you a smoother surface to paint over and promote surface adhesion. Sand any prior paint to roughen the surface slightly.

Lastly, after applying all the steps, ensure to perform a final cleansing of the surface using warm water and a soft cloth to dry out excess water or leftover grease from the initial cleaning. Make sure the surface is thoroughly dried before further application.

Read Also: Does Rustoleum Rust Reformer Work?


Before painting, priming is necessary to support paint-surface adhesion. Your choice of primer is a crucial key. You can purchase a high-quality rust conversion metal primer that requires a slight preparation, and can reach the depth of the rusted metal.

Paint over Primer

Your method of applying paint is solely dependent on your style; painting over rust can give long-lasting corrosion protection, fine texture, and bright look. One of our favorite rust paint brands to use.

However, we suggest spraying paint. By making use of a spray can to paint over rust, you will get a more even paint coat and texture without worrying about brush strokes from a regular paintbrush. Painting with a spray can give a more constant and professional-looking paint project.

For best results, ensure to spray as many coats as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and wait until each coat dries before starting the next.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I paint over rust?

You can paint over rust when the rust is evident on the surface level. You can tell if it’s surface-level rust when the flakes come off by only touching it.

How long should I let the paint dry after painting over rust?

After painting over rust, we suggest a wait time of 24 hours before handling.

What kind of rust paint is best?

We recommend using oil-based spray paint for rusty metal, like Rust-Oleum.

What is the best paint to paint over rust?

One of our favorite rust paint brands to use when painting over rust is Rust-Oleum in a spray can. By using a spray can to paint over rust, you’ll get a more even texture rather than using a standard paintbrush. Using a spray can to paint allows for a more consistent and professional-looking paint job.

Is there a paint that kills rust?

Stop rust in its tracks with Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Rust Reformer. A layer of this flat-black coating bonds with rusty metal and instantly transforms it into a non-rusting surface. No need to sand down to bare metal, simply spray directly onto rust.

What happens if I paint over rust?

Rust develops progressively, and it can cause a lot of problems for metal items and surfaces. Even after you spray paint over rust, it may continue to spread and weaken the surface of your metal.

What kills rust on metal?

You can use white vinegar for effective rust removal. The rust reacts with the vinegar and later dissolves. Simply soak the rusty metal object in white vinegar for a couple of hours and then just wipe to remove the rust.

How do you neutralize rust before painting?

All it takes is a pass with a soft cloth dampened with a homemade degreasing solution—four teaspoons liquid dish soap mixed in one gallon of warm water—followed by a “rinse” using a water-dampened rag. Let the metal air-dry completely before breaking out the primer.

Can I paint over rust with Rustoleum?

Rustoleum manufacturers paint and primer and offers a product line specifically for covering and protecting metal surfaces. They can be used on metals that are rusty, provided you prepare the surface so the primer or paint properly adheres to it. The primer and paint also protects the metal from further rusting.

Can you paint rusted metal?

Coat deeply rusted metal areas with a special primer that chemically converts rust to a paintable surface. Once done, you can paint over rust. This also works great as metal fence paint or metal shed paint.

Can you paint over rust Reformer?

Painting: For oil based paint, wait 4 hours after Rust Reformer has dried before painting. For lacquer or aerosol paint, wait 3 days. If no top coat is desired, a second application of Rust Reformer is recommended. Clean up: Spills should be cleaned up immediately with water.

Does painting over rust stop it from spreading?

Painting over rust can stop the spread by disturbing the process that creates rust. As long as the rust doesn’t cover a massive area, you should be able to use paint to stop it. However, you should consider how rust forms and how thick or wide the rust is.

Does wd40 remove rust?

WD-40 is designed to loosen the bonds between rust and the metal surface it has adhered to by penetrating the porous layer of rust and using its lubricating properties to loosen it. To remove surface rust, simply spray it on the rusted surface, leave it for around ten minutes and let it get to work on the surface rust.


A coat of paint can transform even the dullest piece of worn-out furniture or home décor look like a shiny newly installed piece. Luckily both your interior and also exterior rusted metal hardware are not left out of the league.

Advancement in recent times has made available different paint tools and materials that may come in handy for any DIY to perform painting projects from the comfort of their homes.

I hope this article on the best paint to cover rust has adequately informed you of the factors to consider before buying paint to cover rust and the application process.